WHO confirms 54 new cases and nine more deaths in Congo Fever outbreak

A hospital in Sindh province, Pakistan. Screenshot from Reuters video. File photo.

The World Health Organization has confirmed a total of 54 new cases of Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever were reported between July 2 and July 8 along with nine new deaths.

In the WHO’s latest infectious diseases outbreak report released on Thursday, the organization said this brings the total number of Congo Fever cases to 494 from 32 provinces since the beginning of 2023.

WHO added that three additional Congo Fever associated deaths were added to the cumulative death toll which were reported sporadically from two provinces. This brings the total number of Congo Fever associated deaths to 47 from the beginning of 2023.

The Congo Fever deaths were reported from 16 provinces: Kabul (19), Balkh (6), Takhar (5), Parwan (3), Jawzjan (2), Kandahar (2), and 1 from each of the following provinces: Badakhshan, Baghlan, Faryab, Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunduz, Paktya, Sar-e-pul and Wardak provinces.

Out of total cases (494), 493 (99.8%) were above five years of age and 141 (28.5%) were females.

The main case load however over the past two months has been from the south, mostly Kandahar and Helmand, as well as Balkh in the north and Kabul in the central region.

WHO stated that a national meeting has been held with relevant departments including municipalities and the Taliban’s ministry of agriculture in order to coordinate preparedness and response plans around the outbreak of diseases transmitted from animals to humans – which includes Congo Fever.

Among the topics discussed were public awareness and case management of the infected cases, WHO said, adding that surveillance support teams are actively participating in outbreak investigations and response activities in 34 provinces.

The organization also stated that a case management guideline for Congo Fever has been revised and is currently being reviewed by the Taliban’s ministry of public health for their endorsement.